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October 24, 2002 Spend an evening with Irish spellbinder W.B. Yeats



Two students get down to business, signing a piece of a giant Canadian flag to honour veterans. Left is Aida Séguin, who is in a communication studies program, and beside her is Margaxa Stastny, who is studying political science.

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

by Peter Boer

Peter Schiefke, a second-year political science student, was sitting in his room one night last December watching CNN coverage of the war in Afghanistan. A correspondent was interviewing a woman who told the reporter about how she was afraid to go to sleep at night for fear that she might end up dead, and how she would not send her kids to school because they might be killed. As he watched, an idea began to form.

“I started thinking that we live in such an incredible country,” Schiefke explained. “People have fought and died to save the way we live today.”

The result of that one night is the We Will Always Remember campaign, a project designed to commemorate Canada’s efforts in both World Wars, as well as the Korean War. As part of the program, 52 sections of the largest replica of a Canadian flag ever assembled will be distributed to high schools and universities across Canada, where students will be able to sign them.

On Nov. 10, all of the signed sections will be transported to Ottawa, where a 144-foot-by-72-foot flag will be assembled on the West Lawn of Parliament Hill as part of Canada’s Remembrance Day activities.

The response at Concordia during the signing, which took place from Oct. 28 to 30, said Schiefke, has been amazing.

“We probably had a couple of hundred people come sign on the first day, which is incredible,” he said. “It’s a lot more than I was expecting. It’s great to see that students still care about Remembrance Day.” Schiefke also happens to be VP external for the Political Science Students Association, but he organized this project on his own with a few friends and classmates.

The signing at Concordia’s Hall Building was attended on all three days by Arthur Fraser, a World War Two veteran and member of the Canadian Legion. Fraser, who was one of the lucky few to return from the failed Allied raid on the port of Dieppe in August 1942, said that activities such as We Will Always Remember help Canadians to remember those who died.

“When I was working, I was always able to keep my mind on my work,” Fraser explained. “Now that I’m retired, the memories of the war are quite clear. It’s important to remember, to never forget what happened during the war.”

Tara Warnach, a Concordia sociology student, stopped to sign the flag Wednesday morning. She agrees with Fraser that it is important to remember the sacrifices that others made more than 50 years ago.

“I saw the flag, and I thought that I should stop by and sign it,” she said. “I think it’s still important to remember those people who died for our freedom.”

Maria Peluso, a faculty member in the Department of Political Science, also took time to sign Concordia’s section of the flag. Activities such as We Will Always Remember are still important to Canadians, she said, and the federal government should consider acting on that sentiment.

“In fact, I don’t understand why we don’t have a national holiday as a day of remembrance in honour of our veterans,” Peluso said. “I’ve actually petitioned the Governor-General to do just that.”